05/08/2003 11:00PM

Four speed horses and one closer


ELMONT, N.Y. - Five fillies and mares entered Sunday's $150,000 Genuine Risk Handicap at Belmont Park, and four of the runners are quick from the starting gate, which could set things up nicely for Shine Again.

Shine Again ran a courageous race last year in the Grade 2 Genuine Risk. She took aim in deep stretch on the tenacious pacesetter, Xtra Heat, but couldn't catch her and was beaten by a length.

The likely favorite in the six-furlong Genuine Risk is the fleet-footed Carson Hollow, the 122-pound highweight.

Rain is in the forecast, and with the exception of September Secret, all of the runners have won on off tracks.

Carson Hollow, who will be reunited with jockey John Velazquez, won the Grade 2 Distaff Breeders' Cup at Aqueduct on March 29 in her last start. In her only other race this year, Carson Hollow finished second to Xtra Heat in the Barbara Fritchie at Laurel.

Carson Hollow's trainer, Richard Dutrow Jr., said the 4-year-old is more aggressive this year than last season, when she won the Grade 1 Prioress at Belmont. He believes her attitude change is a result of the intense stretch battle she engaged in with You in the 2002 Test at Saratoga. You beat Carson Hollow, who set a sizzling pace, by a nose.

"I saw a change in her after that," Dutrow said. "Up until then she was winning her races easily. That day she had to get down and run. Right now she is so aggressive and looking for action. She's pulling harder in her gallops."

Carson Hollow drew post 4.

Shine Again won her first start of the year on April 19 in an Aqueduct allowance race. Trained by Allen Jerkens, her stalking tactics could be lethal in this speed-laden field.

"Her perfect distance is seven furlongs, but six is good," said Jean-Luc Samyn, Shine Again's regular rider. "If there is plenty of pace up there, even better."

September Secret, who won last year's Grade 3 Railbird at Hollywood Park, Harmony Lodge, and A New Twist are all quick from the starting gate.

Harmony Lodge stumbled leaving the gate and came from off the pace to win the Grade 3 First Lady at Gulfstream in January. Her trainer, Todd Pletcher, said it was a blessing that she stumbled, because she didn't use herself early in what turned out be a swift opening quarter-mile.

"She is so naturally quick, and a hard one to get off the pace," Pletcher said.

Edgar Prado will ride Harmony Lodge from the rail.